MixedRoots Blogging while mixed. Commentary on being biracial, challenging perceptions of race & religion in life and politics. Connecting all Cultures. Unity and Peace. Dedicated to celebrating all cultures, including mixed-heritages, inter-racial & inter-religious families and unions while educating others about the unique mixed-race and multicultural experience. Bridging the gaps between racial, ethnic, cultural & religious differences.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Passing for Black: Eyes of Pain

Passing for Black: Eyes of Pain

Mixed Roots Movement hosted a cultural culinary event last saturday and a new --middle aged-- couple  joined us for the first time.  Both are mixed-race, the husband (we'll call him "Leo") with blue eyes told a story that I just can't get out of my mind. His eyes were intense and the pain of what he felt could be seen in his eyes..

Leo's father a biracial (black/white) man, although he looked white and could have "passed" lived his life according to the one-drop rule his entire life.  Leo began to share his recollection of driving to see his father in his home for the aging.  Through tears, Leo finally got to the part of his father's death.  Leo shared that staff marked his father's  race as "white" on his death certificate.  I was stunned. I didn't know what to say.  Here is Leo, his first time at a Mixed Roots Movement activity, he's obviously connected and we to him.  Our events and activities are always a time of sharing and relating but this story struck me like none I've heard yet.  Leo went on to explain that it was painful that in this country his father was made to choose, and if he didn't the one-drop rule chose for him.  But what seemed to most disturb Leo was that his father was subject to discriminations from both blacks and whites and he lived his life as a black man, but then died a white man!  He said it was all too ironic.  He said that when he returned home from the funeral, and told his friends what happened, they all wanted to know if he was going to take steps to change the record.  Leo said, the record was made and his father is dead now, changing it wouldn't change anything.  To me, it's indicative of just what being mixed --specifically black/white-- in America is.  

Mixed People live full lives with experiences like this and who cares?  Anyone? Anyone outside of the "mixed" community?  I certainly hope so.  If not, just listen, our stories are on the way.There are several mixed race people and organizations that have being doing work for years that if not already are public, have found the strength to go public.  The stories real and fiction are and will be gripping and compelling and certainly noteworthy.

© 2008 T. Fatimah Williams -MixedRoots

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